ROYAL AFRICAN FELLOWS > ALISSA EVERETT
Living, working, and traveling through 120 countries, Alissa considers herself “profoundly fortunate” to have photographed on all seven continents. She has traveled on assignment for news and magazine outlets, undertaken humanitarian work and pursued personal projects in some of the most remote locations on the planet. Much of her travels have been solo, under the weight of her own backpack and camera equipment.
Alissa’s early work in conflict zones includes Iraq (where she drove herself across the border and was ultimately embedded with the 101st Airborne under General Petraeus), Afghanistan, Gaza and the West Bank, and, over the past seven years, frequent visits to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In Chad, she crossed illegally into Darfur living with SLA rebels. While her assignments remain in the same regions, over time her focus has changed to the human consequences of conflict, and in the case of the DRC, following and assisting communities for many years.
Her expedition and adventure photography work has put her on an icebreaker in Antarctica, a helicopter to fly-fishing camps in British Columbia, allowed her to travel by camel through the Sahara in Mauritania and by a small plane from Casablanca to Cape Town. She has photographed lowland gorillas in the Central African Republic, fresh water dolphins in the Amazon, and giant turtles in the Galápagos. As an advanced scuba diver she has filed stories across the Pacific, undertaken exploratory dives in Myanmar and shark dived in French Polynesia.
Alissa’s humanitarian work includes documenting the Syrian refugee crisis for UNICEF, the Swat refugee camps of Pakistan for the World Food Program, peace and reconciliation work for Humanity United in South Sudan, and the recovery of survivors of sexual violence in the DRC for her own foundation, Exposing Hope.
To continue her work in communities in which she has photographed, and to support grass roots programs for women, she founded Exposing Hope in 2007. It has built and enables the operations of a number of safe houses for the survivors of sexual violence in the DRC.
Her personal interest in traditional festivals and other cultural gatherings has taken her to India’s Holi, Brazil’s Carnivale, the Lozi people’s Kumoboka, and events such as Burning Man in the Californian desert and the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Born in California, she has lived in Mexico, Senegal, Lebanon, New York City and has just relocated to Nairobi, Kenya. A graduate of UCLA and the Peace Corps, she began her professional life as an investment banker, before pursing her true passion, photography. Her personal trips are to yoga and meditation retreats, and she runs marathons when her knees are up for it.